For starters, $|-- is special and may confuse the issue. $|-- toggles $| between 0 and 1. (No idea why)
Secondly, it's bad to modify and use a variable in the same expression because
print "first=", $var, " second=", $var--, "\n";
is basically equivalent to
alias $_ = "first=";
alias $_ = $var;
alias $_ = " second=";
my $anon = $var--; # <-- Changes $var *and* $_
alias $_ = $anon; # since $_ is an alias
alias $_ = "\n"; # for $var.
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