Now With Fifty Ways


Now With Fifty Ways

The song “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” has been a source of great pain to many people. The setup is right there in the title. “Fifty ways,” it says. Fifty. And then it’s repeated in the very first verse. Fifty ways to leave your lover.
And then the list begins and the listener quite reasonably expects there to be fifty items on it, but no. There are five. Forty-five fewer than promised.
How did this happen? Paul Simon could easily have named the song “Five Ways to Leave Your Lover,” so one is forced to assume that the intention was for there to be fifty ways, but he got distracted, probably by Art Garfunkel calling and hanging up over and over.
In the spirt of “don’t just complain, do something” I have taken it upon myself to right this great wrong. Someone please tell Paul.


“Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover (2019)”
By Paul Simon and his new writing partner, Sarah McKinley Oakes

“The problem is all inside your head”, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover 

She said it’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself, at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover

You just slip out the back, Jack

Make a new plan, Stan

You don’t need to be coy, Roy just listen to me

Hop on the bus, Gus, you don’t need to discuss much

Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free

Fake your own death, Beth

Get stationed abroad, Todd

Just get up and go, Beau

Sleep with her boss, Ross

Be a jerk to get her to dump you and then act like you’re the injured party, Marty

Start setting her up on dates with other men, Ken

Get yourself institutionalized for being crazy, Daisy

Ask her to marry you and then yell, ‘PSYCH!,’ Spike

Leave a message on her answering machine, Gene

Write a break-up note in the snow with pee, Melanie

You can get put in the witness protection program if you testify against the mob, Bob

Get transferred to Peoria, Gloria

Write a play about a horrible couple who make each other miserable and as the curtain goes up on opening night lean over and whisper, ‘this is how I see us,’ Russ

Literally jump in a lake, Blake

Claim you’re just running to the store, Eleanor

There’s a really good woman’s shelter you can stay at called ‘My Sister’s Place,’ Grace

Send a fax, Max

Invite her to a no nukes march and write ‘no more war and also no more of this relationship’ on your picket sign, Caroline

Go on the lam, Pam

Just tell him the truth, Ruth

Move to a new city with the plan that she’s going to follow in a month or so after she gets everything packed up, then call and say ‘I don’t think you should come after all,’ Saul

Send a singing telegram, Abraham

Collect your books and get on back to school, Abdul

Become an astronaut, then tell him you’ve been assigned the honor and sacrifice of a one-way mission to another planet, Janet

Check him into an old folk’s home, Jerome

Keep breaking up and getting back together until the couples counselor tells you both you’ve simply got to end the dysfunctional cycle, Michael

Get put in jail, Dale

Update your Facebook status, Atticus

Seduce a couple of teens into wacking him, Kim

Be honest about how you feel, Camille

Write a ‘dear John,’ Dawn

Dump the mother fucker already, Betty

Stage your own kidnapping and set the ransom way too high, Di

Leave her at an amusement park, Mark

Quit the scene, Josephine

Get a restraining order on file, Kyle

Make like a tree, Stephanie

Arrange for her to walk in on you right in the middle of intercourse with another person and when she does, scream, ‘it’s not what it looks like!,’ Mike

Move to Bali, Molly

Peace, Trice

Pretend you lost your memory after getting hit on the head, Ted

Tell her you’ve finally found the man you want to marry, Carey

Go out for a ride and never go back, Mack

Join the Navy, Davey

Stop looking for the perfect rhyme and leave, Steve

She said it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways 

She said why don’t we both just sleep on it tonight
And I believe in the morning you’ll begin to see the light
And then she kissed me and I realized she probably was right
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover

Author: Sarah McKinley Oakes

Sarah McKinley Oakes is an L.A.-area writer, nanny, and library clerk. Her other website is, where she writes up old restaurants but barely mentions the food. To contact Sarah, email her at, or DM the Hatpin Slayer Facebook page

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