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So after kicking a constant problem I have with Drupal, in that some very simple things are nearly impossible to do without using a half-dozen hooks and crafting plugins, handlers, OR understanding all the incomprehensibly-labelled sections of render arrays, their PHPerverse callback usage, and all that jazz, AND that are literally impossible to reverse-engineer because the convoluted and self-referential data structures cause any decomposing method (print_r, dsm, krumo) to die from memory overflow...

I find a COMPLETELY UNDOCUMENTED variable floating around that has exactly what I need when I need it, has no memory footprint to speak of, and that can be used in ways both simple and complex with little computational overhead.

I found it last night at 11:30PM. It was like finally finding the two ends at the middle of the Gordion knot, or Konstantin Bykov discovering the function of the Corpus Callosum.

I guess Drupal is a bit like London. All the small secret ways to get from A to B in the shortest amount of time are known only to the cabbies, and they keep these things to themselves.