I am sure there would be something out there on cpan which would do the table manipulation, or some very clever one liner, but I don't see any problem with your approach - it is simple, readable and in six months time you'll still know what it is doing... TIMTOWDTI, but the important thing is that it works!(disclaimer: admittedly I am assuming your way works, I haven't tested it, but it looks like it should work...).
Maybe it could be wrapped in a subroutine, or made into an object/method, but in principle your approach is sound.
Without trying to be your Perl-shrink, why does it feel wrong? Nothing wrong with simple.
Just a something something...
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