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I love this! I battle with flash, too and I've always felt like I was half a 'tographer for it.
Flash is worth learning. In fact, any and all lighting is worth learning. It will do you no harm, and it may do you a great deal of good if you choose to use it. After all, any and all light is still just light, and the mastery of light is the essence of photography. Some people choose to use flash sometimes, some choose never, but the knowledge of how to do so successfully is still worth acquiring.
If I wanted an easy way to use flash in a case like this, I'd probably do what the wedding guys do... point the flash straight up with a diffuser on it, so that most of the light goes toward brightening up the overall light levels in the image (even 1/3 or 2/3 of a stop is sometimes a godsend) and a little bit goes toward the subject to reduce noise, fill in shadows, and add catchlights to the eyes.