simple help

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OK this should be simple, but....
I am parsing an error file greping for a cretin conditions, this part I
have working fine
    if (/...what ever it is I am looking for.../)
    print output $_
That is working fine.
I then log the last runtime (from the error file line item time stamp),
and this too works fine
So the next time I can pick up where we left off and not revisit the
same errors
$last_runtime = $logfile[$#logfile];

What I would like to do is search the error_file from the $last_runtime
But I just can't get the strings to match!
What I was trying is this
$x = 1;
while (<error_file > ){
if ($x)
    $comp_string = substr($_, 0, 20);
    if(($last_runtime eq $comp_string) )
    {      $x = 0;print ("this is where i left off\n")}
print ($comp_string, "\n");
print (" found the starting point\n");
    if (/...what ever it is I am looking for.../)
        print $_;
        print ("error found");
so what is wrong with the if(($last_runtime eq $comp_string) )
It never matches??

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