I think Perl may just be the old man *and* the garage. Or the high school teacher *and* the shop class. I know that my love for Perl would not be so complete were it not for the resources out there - the community resources for sharing knowledge and advancing the capabilities of the language (modules). Perl is the idea that for nearly any job, someone with an open mind and a full garage can pick through whatever tools available and show you one way to tackle the problem, given these tools and his specific flavor of ingenuity. Perl is the idea that an intelligent person can determine that one good way to fix this thing is to tighten that screw, and if need be, I can use the back end of this here claw hammer, or possibly a butter knife, and tighten that screw.
A friend of mine was learning Perl and hacking through some simple scripts I had written to solve some of his problems, figuring it out along the way. He had said to me that he only had a few tools to work with (split, join, pack, unpack at the time methinks), and after a while, everything starts looking like a hammer. Thinking about that now.. a hammer is the simplest tool there is, and as brute force as it gets. We're still effectively using a hammer to beat through political issues, but this is not the place for that ;) The important thing is that we have myriad tools available throughout the world, and they all started with taking something heavy and beating something else until it looked useful. You can use a hammer to make a screw driver. For me, Perl makes me think that you are not limited by a particular language and the tools that it makes available, but rather you are given carte blanche to take those tools and make new tools out of them - or even just use the back end of the claw hammer in an unexpected way to get the job done.
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