It might be worth mentioning that I've been writing Perl in various capacities for about nine years now. I'm not new to this. In fact, I was writing Perl long before I was writing Python. I consider this relevant because if someone who has been using the language as long as I have can bump up against such issues, then I shudder to consider the degree of perplexity under which the newbie frequently labors. There is a very good reason that in many circles Perl is derisively cast as a "write only language". There are some things that it just makes needlessly complicated or unpredictable.