SEOMike, looks like SLAX is very popular on Distrowatch [distrowatch.com], so I can't imagine it being a poor performer. I've only had minor problems with the various live CD distros, and all of the issues were well documented online. If you try Slax and it isn't exactly what you want, Knoppix, Gnoppix, and Damn Small Linux are also very popular live CD distros.
You're right, it is a nice way to get familiar with the *nix systems. And it's totally painless, so you shouldn't have any of your earlier nightmares [webmasterworld.com]. It's how I got started, and I'm loving it. By no means an expert, but it's a fun ride. Best of luck to you. Once you've gone penguin, it's hard to go back.
Just remember that you are really missing alot of what you can get out of linux by simply running a CD. Sure, you can play with a command line and stuff - but you can't really install anything, which is the real power of linux: open source software and the development route.
My only point is that it may make you a little less frightened, but I highly doubt it will get you very excited about linux.