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There's only one case I can think of where I've had to mess with symbolic references:
Constant Amusement.

I think the "never, never" advice here is the result of frustration in dealing with beginners who for some inexplicable reason start thinking about variables with computed names (SNOBOL, anyone?) before they learn about hashes.

Mark Jason Dominus has some (similarly frustrated) writings on the subject:

In reply to Re^2: Never, never, never by doom
in thread Never, never, never by johnnywang

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