in reply to extracting the largest values

I'd just like to point out the following...

If you are using files that only contain numbers, the following *IX command prompt will do the work for you with no scripts

sort -rn YourFileName | head -n 2

I know this is a Perl board, but sometimes people get caught up writing unnecessary scripts. It sounds to me like you're trying to find these values in a file, but that this is an independent scripts (not passing the values off to another piece of perl). The above line saves you the trouble of debugging a script, and will prevent future maintainers from deciphering your code (unless it's well commented, which, of course, it will be :)