let's not arbitrarily turn something into a function call that doesn't have to be
I didn't turn it into a function call arbitrarily. In fact, I explained my reasoning for doing so. I was attempting to compare the speed of File::Slurp to the idiomatic slurp. I was not attempting to measure the speed of Perl's subroutine calls, much less loading of modules. It's already well-established that these things are slow.
This is how I see things so far: you stated that File::Slurp is slower than the idiomatic slurp. I demonstrated that it is, but only under very constrained circumstances. Then, you constrained the circumstances even further. I don't get the point you're going for here...
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