I don't think someone who is very new to Perl should be ashamed of themselves for asking for help or for anything they don't know about it, including any of its features and pitfalls, let alone anything as obscure as use strict and use warnings. They are hardly intuitively obvious, perl doesn't deem them worthy of mention until the very end of the page, and one has to read perlsyn quite thoroughly before finding use warnings suggested.
Nor do I think that failure to use them has anything to do with the problem at hand. But, to be sure, I tried adding them to the program in the original post and running it to see if it provided any clarification of what might be the cause of the problem. They didn't help.
None the less, I think use strict and use warnings are valuable features, especially for beginners. A more gentle introduction is in The strictures, according to Seuss, which I recommend.
If anyone should be ashamed, it is those of us with enough experience to know how commonly beginners are unaware of the goodness of Perl and how to use it well, yet lambaste them when they ask for help rather than encouraging them in their studies and their seeking of wisdom.