You were a Navy SEAL and a used car salesman. You worked in a feed mill and participated in the most infamous of Apollo missions. You lived in the past, the present, and the future. You enchanted and astounded us. You surprised and, occasionally, reviled us. You piqued our compassion and our curiosity. You did this over more than three decades, all the while seeming ageless.
You helped Ripley, Hicks, and Vasquez defend Operations. You, Virgil, and Wyatt brought law and order to Tombstone. You and your team searched the Titanic for lost treasures, and you helped Jo to pioneer an advanced severe weather warning system.
Throughout your career, you told a couple true lies and carried out a few simple plans. You took all that the worlds of action and science fiction could throw at you. You encountered the terminator and the predator. Given these experiences, the ends you occasionally met were not necessarily pleasant, but the moments you forged for us were undeniably unforgettable.
There was a time when you seemed to appear only in films with Michael Biehn. You rubbed shoulders with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sigourney Weaver, Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise. You were Matthew McConaughey’s father, Billy Bob Thornton’s brother, and Bridget Fonda’s husband. You faced down Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, and Powers Boothe.
The game may be over, but you saved all of our favorite levels for us. If there are any extraterrestrials in heaven, I hope they’ve been put on notice. Someone should’ve told them that you’re riding into town.
Thanks for the memories,
Many thanks to Joshua Scully for this heartfelt tribute to Bill Paxton.
Joshua Scully is an American History teacher from Pennsylvania. His flash fiction and other writing can be found @jojascully or at https://jjscully.wordpress.com/