Thanks for the feedback. I think, though, that the intent of my questions was not conveyed clearly.
I'm familiar with the perils of early-optimization, I just like to play around with the language and see what I can learn along the way). If I was really concerned about pulling a slight speed-boost, I know how to profile my project. I was really just looking for ideas concerning better ways of handling this area of programming.
I actually think this curiosity makes me a less-good game-programmer, because I often get interested in experimentation and language-playing. I'm okay with that, though, because programming (game or otherwise) is only (and will only ever be) a hobby of mine (I have no delusions of publishing a game or getting green-lit or anything of the sort).