Came here looking for someone else wishing Perl many happy returns as it reaches this august landmark.
I have been working as a programmer for 25 years and started using Perl in 1993 or so. I cannot express what it felt like to have this incredibly powerful tool that seemed to integrate all of the sed, awk, shell, and C code that I had for research. Using Perl absolutely felt like magic, particularly for analyzing text.
I love Python, Ruby, and Lua too, but Perl will always be the tool that quickly gets things up and running.