I really don't see it. Perl is basically C after it's had a few drinks. You can use it exactly like C, all if/else, do while, while, for, ++, etc contructs are there (except Perl lacks switch), in the exact same form. Add in regular expressions, a looser structure, and a lot of shortcuts and that's it. You can very
easily ramp up to more advanced Perl, and until you're comfortable with it just use Perl as a looser C with some nice conveniences. Nobody is suggesting Perl in its monstrous entirety needs to be used in all scripts.
I am sure that I could "learn" perl and in time read it and understand it with relative ease.. but I would consider that a tremendous waste of time.
This Perl phobia (not just you, it's quite common) is like a child taking his cough medicine. It's not that bad!
Perl saved me immense time. So much so that Java or C or even Python would have literally been impossible, the number of things I had to implement in the time I had. There's a time and place for everything, and chances are CPAN's already done it for you
I believe that people with a mind for programming can understand most of C/C++, Java, BASIC, Pascal, Python, etc.. just by looking at code that has been written in it, without knowing ANY of those languages ahead of time.
qsort  = 
qsort (x:xs) = qsort elts_lt_x ++ [x] ++ qsort elts_greq_x
elts_lt_x = [y | y <- xs, y < x]
elts_greq_x = [y | y <- xs, y >= x]
The Haskell community declares this quicksort program to be learnable from just looking at it, "You should be able to understand the program without any previous knowledge of either Haskell or quicksort." (from the official "Intro to Haskell", http://www.haskell.org/aboutHaskell.html
). I really disagree. That program's also nothing, Haskell gets much
more bizarre. It makes Perl seem like reading a children's book. Yet Haskell is an excellent choice for certain situations. There's no such thing as a one size fits all language, they've all got their strengths. Including Perl. They've all got their weaknesses. Including Java.