If you can, try to get the first edition
of the book. The second edition had most of the funny jokes and side comments by Larry Wall removed
. Aside from anything else, and especially the first edition, it is a wonderfully entertaining read. Can you imagine a technical book
that you can't put down? There are a few, and the first edition
of Programming Perl is an example.
Here are some of the humorous quotes (YMMV), and this is just from the glossary, let alone the rest of the book (and yes, I typed them in myself):
Call by reference: Throwing encyclopedias at your kids until they come to dinner.
Call by value: Throwing money at your kids until they come to dinner.
Conditional: Something "iffy".
Curly Braces: Larry and Moe.
Flush: Turning bright red when asked if you could do something crafty "in something other than Perl this time, please".
Indirection: When Randal says, "I don't know the answer ... go ask Larry".
Minimalism: The belief that "small is beautiful." Paradoxically, however,
if you say something in a small language, it turns out big and if you say it in a big language, it turns out small. Go figure.
Toolbox approach: The notion that, with a complete set of simple tools
that work well together, you can build almost anything you want. Which is
fine if you're assembling a tricycle, but if you're building a
defranishizing comboflux, you really want your own machine shop to build
special tools in. Perl is a sort of machine shop.