Old SparkyJoe Segen2016-12-16T05:06:55+00:00
Florida’s Old Sparky
A generic, ghoulishly facetious Americanism for any electric chair used for capital punishment (execution).
The original “Old Sparky” is in Raiford, Florida, and continues in operation. Under pressure from the US Supreme Court, the Florida legislature now offers death by lethal injection on its “How Do You Want to Die” menu, given that several electrical mishaps resulted in flames shooting out of two of the executionees’ heads, raising the question of whether death by electrocution represented cruel and unusual punishment. One could argue that the flames were merely a prelude, but I digress. The sobriquet derives from the fact that sparks often emanate from electrical wires when wet. Other States (Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) with death penalty by electrocution have their very own “Old Sparky.” The electric chairs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee are known as Old Smokey.
Synonym Yellow Mama