Aye, you can use shift as though it's a variable. I do many a print shift;. It saves on typing and stress of coming up with yet ANOTHER unique variable name.
in reply to unlink $file OR... OR..
UPDATE: Adding code for the original question
push(@list, "blah.txt"), print qq(Error\n) unless unlink "blah.txt";
"Age is nothing more than an inaccurate number bestowed upon us at birth as just another means for others to judge and classify us"