By all means, try out $LANG, but also give Perl a real chance (a.k.a.: Good tools)
Good tools are investments. Learning Perl to a sufficiently advanced level is not easy. Like any aged tool, Perl has quite a bit of idiosyncrasies and quirks that still exist due to maintaining backward compatibility. But there's not a single working day that I don't benefit from knowing Perl. Learning Perl has also introduced me to regexes (to a level deeper than it would have been if I had learned other languages) and various other technologies.
Good tools give confidence. I certainly feel that whenever it comes to most text manipulation or automation tasks, I can rely on Perl and CPAN.
Good tools are timeless. Sometimes I can't believe that it has been 17 years since I first knew Perl. Other languages come and go, and other tools even more so, but Perl sticks. Virtually all of the Perl scripts that I wrote back then can still run on my current system's Perl. The same cannot be said with some other languages (even shells). Isn't that amazing?
Good tools grow with you. Perl still surprises and amazes me to this day. CPAN delights me constantly.
Give the original article a read. You'll probably enjoy it (and perhaps be intrigued to learn Perl and/or Emacs).