I could not have been more than 10 years old when my father took me down to the used record store to buy my first Carlin LP. I memorized Toledo Window Box within days, even though, in retrospect, I must have understood no more than half its content. I was like the British audience hearing Bob Hope's "motel" punchline--they didn't know what a motel was, but they laughed because the joke was over and they knew Bob Hope was funny. I knew Carlin was funny because of what he said about God, farts, and urinals; if I didn't know what he meant by "Ho Chi Minh Trail" or "bong", I knew the material was good enough to land me in the Principal's office when I repeated it, and that one day I would figure out why.
Years later in Constitutional Law, we read Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation. I concluded that ten year old boys can have two types of fathers in this world, and Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" routine provides the litmus test. Some fathers file FCC complaints when their sons hear it on the radio; some fathers buy their sons the album. I was fortunate enough to have the latter, and the person I am today is in no small measure the result.