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Re: Why I learn a language.

by sfink (Deacon)
on Feb 26, 2003 at 04:02 UTC ( #238653=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Why I learn a language.

When I was growing up my parents used to spell things out when they didn't want me to understand them, like "better put the c-a-n-d-y away before he sees it" or "you got to shave the k-a-n-g-a-r-o-o last time, it's my turn!". When I got older and learned how to read, they had to try harder to keep things away from me, so they spoke in Perl. I obviously was highly motivated to figure out what they were keeping away from me, so I started to pick up the odd phrase here and there.

Then after things pretty much fell apart and my lawsuit against them was still in appeals, I had even stronger motivation to learn. They still had control over me for a while longer, so they hired (or purchased? I was never sure) a model TXE330 Doberman-class Personal Security Agent to "keep me out of trouble". In practice, that meant two straight months of huddling terrified in a corner of my cell. The judge sure would have taken a very dim view of this, had he survived!

Anyway, it turns out that sadistic old Doby was programmed in Perl, and I learned a lot by reverse-engineering the code that was briefly visible whenever he bent over to take a leak. I eventually found a bug in his control program (it should have been /\bbreathing\b/, not /breathing/) and managed to write out a simple exploit on his battery refill one morning. He had only chewed off one of my arms at this point, so it was relatively easy.

I still have flashbacks whenever I use Perl, but I've found it to be enormously valuable ever since my early years. Personally, I think everyone should learn Perl, if only for self-defense.

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