This was 1999. My highschool friend got me interested in Linux. Gave me a RH install CD. X didn't play well with my monitor (GUI installer); so that didn't work.
Then he gave me Mandrake; similar problem with RH obviously...
Then Debian. That installer was text based and a giant nightmare. Couldn't figure it out.
So he gave me Slackware. Brilliant. It installed and worked and I started learning. Didn't know how to use it. So I would ask my buddy how to do this or that. He'd give me a yellow post-it after class with "man pppd" or "man xorg.conf" and disappear.
Then in college I got masochistic and went Gentoo all out. I had some Debian machines and CentOS too; but Gentoo was my main platform.
Then I left college; got a job and picked up a macbook; run OSX and Arch on my other systems.
Give a teenage boy slackware and a dialup connection. Nothing can stop the teenage quest for dirty pictures.
Eating dirt with slackware for 4 years was probably the best learning curve possible; for me anyways. Everybody is different.