in reply to elated frustration

heh.... if you are new to Perl, then you obviously already have or will soon be obtaining your very own copy of The Camel :D

Assuming you get the 3rd Edition (recommended), have a flick through the start of Chapter 24. You'll find sections entitled "Common Goofs for Novices" and "Universal Blunders", etc.

Might save you a few similar head-banging episodes in the future :)

Darren :)

PS: Most of the Camel is also available in the online doco, but I prefer (and recommend) having a copy of the book