In 1994, I had some scientific (computational chemistry) data to process. The lab didn't have a C compiler and the problem was a bit too complex for sed/awk/sh. Remembered Perl from a couple years earlier and was now desperate enough to actually try it. Worked like a charm (obviously).
Soon wrote a web-based DB for the departmental library from scratch ... then discovered the magic of modules like DBI when I couldn't maintain my own spaghetti-code just a year later. After CPAN, I was fully converted and started using Perl for nearly everything possible.